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skot AT izzlepfaff DOT com

Monday, 02 June
Into The Mild

Say! Took a week off there, didn't I? Fortunately, nobody noticed.

The wife and I have been trying this new thing. Instead of holing up in the apartment to watch terrible, mirth-strangling DVDs and occasionally breaking out in mournful sobs at unpredictable intervals, we've been spending time with other people over food and drinks! It's pretty fucked up, but we're into it; we're talking with CBS about a possible reality show that we like to call (in the planning stages) "Socializing"! Sumner Redstone called us the other day and said, "Your idea--interacting with other people in familiar social situations--really makes me almost feel my skin again. This could be bigger than buttfucking." So we're pretty excited.

On Memorial Day, for example, we had sent out a little email to fifty or so of our closest uneasy, distant, faltering relationship entities inviting them to come over and spend some quality time remembering the fallen warriors of our past and eating pork tacos. "Nobody will come," we told each other, "because we are strange hermits who never talk to other humans any more."

Nearly everybody on the invite showed up, grimly marching through our door like and endless stream of disgruntled Huns, demanding tacos. We didn't underestimate our popularity; we underestimated our friends' botomless capacity for free pork. The tacos were gone in mere instants, forcing the wife to improvise, which she did with aplomb, quickly whipping up a batch of taco meat salvaged from some discarded turkey and stretching it with several past issues of the New York Times, which we have neatly piled in several six-foot stacks that creatively delineate the mazelike contours of our living space. Some of the dozens of hamsters that reside in our place loudly squeaked their outrage, and into the spicy pot they were swept as well, and all were sated.

When the freeloaders began to overstay their welcome, I simply put on a 1985 cover of "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band" by a long-forgotten/never-remembered rap group named the Three Wize Men, and that started clearing the room nicely; the song sounds not unlike a roomful of Juggalos sodomizing a parliament of unlucky barn owls. It is unearthly, and I'm proud to own the recording; it's like owning Ed Gein's big toe, or a theremin. It just doesn't make sense.

When the last few obstinate stragglers proved immune to the terrible song, I simply retrieved my well-thumbed copy of the Planet Hulk trade paperback and began reading it aloud using the voice of Fannie Flagg, and the rest reeled out into the streets clutching their ears.

Then, more recently, we found ourselves at a birthday party for our friend S., a geriatric bank worker who mysteriously has been tasked with learning about infectious disease vectors. (Really. Except for the geriatric part. I think she's like 34. It's confusing.) They recently bought a house out in Greenwood or some such--fuck neighborhoods located more than six blocks from mine--and so we drove out there for a barbecue! This being Seattle, it of course rained, and this being again Seattle, nobody really gave a shit.

S.'s husband J., who is the walking embodiment of "jovial," manned the damp grill while swigging from his finest cans of Hamm's beer. J. is a confusing fellow, a pastry chef with a taste for the finer things--bleu cheese was one of the options for burger toppings--and yet he is content to drink radioactive brine such as Hamm's and PBR. It wasn't until I saw his garage that I understood; inside I found two scooters that he apparently tinkers with obsessively. "Oh, I get it!" I exclaimed. "You're deranged and twee!" "I am, sir!" he cried, and attempted to crush an empty against his skull, but the empty was, regrettably, full--in fact unopened--and he collapsed to the ground in a mighty, unconscious heap.

The rain had driven a few of us to the garage; all men. The reasoning being, I suppose, that that's where men go when the weather turns to shit. Some of the men for the occasion had brought cigars, which were passed around. I demurred, content to smoke my regular cigarettes, and was briefly derided: "Sure, you stick with your little cigarettes, Skot." I declined to point out the various underlying psychological rationales that might be responsible for their enthusiasm for putting the largest possible cylindrical objects into their mouths, mainly because we were also playing a manly game of darts and I didn't want to get punctured. Also, J. was starting to stir, and he could have easily harmed me rather badly had he felt like driving over me several hundred times with one of his scooters, had they been in working order, which they weren't. They simply stared at us balefully, like lazy, one-eyed candy apple red heifers.

I am unnerved by scooters, I think.

We were, it must be said, laughably wretched at darts. We were--manfully--playing a game called Cricket, where the simple object is to hit the numbers 15 through 20 (and the bullseye) three times each; first player to do this (including credit for doubles and triples) wins. In addition to the dartboard, I also hit: the wall, the ceiling, my shoe, someone's piece of birthday cake, a wayward scrivener, Jupiter, and, happily, a colicky baby, the last of which raised cheers from everyone. The tiny garage continued to fill with the unholy fug of accumulated cigar smoke, and as the game continued ineptly--to be fair, nobody was striving too terribly for anything resembling eptness--and I was moved by our close camaraderie, the social inroads I had made that day that I had been neglecting for so wrong.

"It's so good to hang with you guys," I said to the group. "Do you guys know when Jumper comes out on DVD? We could totally watch that some time."

There was a long, dreadful silence, punctuated only by mournful sucking noises as they worked the cigars in their mouths.

Baby steps. I'll get there.

Note: Comments are closed on old entries.


I'm mainly impressed by the Planet Hulk reference. My inner geek now has taut nipples.

Comment number: 017370   Posted by: JJ on June 3, 2008 12:41 PM from IP:

Sorry I missed the non-pork pork taco fest.

I am an even stranger, more hermitic strange hermit than you & the wife.

I did appreciate the invite, though. Perhaps we'll imbibe some alcohol (together, even!) and try some of that Socializing I've been hearing so much about lately. Then again...

Comment number: 017381   Posted by: Suzanne on June 7, 2008 01:32 PM from IP:

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